Joseph Emphasizes Need for Smart Rugby

SHIZUOKA (June 17) – Head coach Jamie Joseph said Friday  if Japan can play smart with and without the ball then they could beat Ireland when the teams meet Saturday in the first game of the two-test series.

“We need to create pressure, help the flow of the game and play fast, unstructured rugby,” he said after his side’s captain’s run at Ecopa Stadium.

“But we need to be smart in how we conserve our energy, how we use the ball and make sure we use it intelligently.”

Joseph said it was important that Japan remained mentally tough even when things went against them.

“We were guilty of losing our composure and that coupled with some decisions not going our way put us under pressure,” Joseph said of last week’s game in which Japan beat Romania 33-21 after leading 33-9.

Scrumhalf Fumiaki Tanaka said it was imperative Japan are able to “read what Ireland want to do then force them to make mistakes or give away penalties.”

Tanaka also said Japan’s forwards also “need to conserve energy” against what he called a “well-balanced side.”

Brave Blossoms captain Shota Horie said the team had recovered well early in the week before putting in a couple of hard sessions as they built up towards Saturday’s game.

“They are bigger and stronger so being competitive wih them at the set piece will be a key point,” he said.

“We also need to rect well at line-outs and in defense.”

The two teams meet again next week in Tokyo at Ajinomoto Stadium and then face one another in Pool A at the Rugby World Cup in two year’s time.